BPM

BPM and SOA are joined at the hip - 5 tips - next mobile bpm is coming.

on Wednesday, 15 May 2013. Posted in Blog, BPM

BPM and SOA are joined at the hip - 5 tips - next mobile bpm is coming.

 

Over time, business process logic became embedded in these custom applications, often undocumented code and proprietary data structures that were expensive to change, the business answer was to duplicate business functionality, which of course increased the difficulty and expense of changing code. That resulted in higher IT costs and growing IT backlogs.

In my view most companies are starting the adoption of a data/process governance model across the enterprise and have understood the important link between BPM and SOA.

 


BPM is a management discipline that documents business processes so that they may be consistently executed, by measuring, monitoring and controlling process performance this includes key inputs and outputs of process.

BPM is a way of building operational solutions. SOA is a thought model that helps decompose complex problems into well-defined and reusable components. BPM ends with a statement of the desired level of automationand SOA begins with the set of services that are available to support the desired automation.

 

Tip 1 – Provide your business analysts /architects with BPMN 2.0 and BPEL modeling for your enterprise projects

Tip 2 – Embrace your company methodology don’t drop it because of BPM or SOA modify the governance process and add the new deliverables into your existing company methodology.

Tip 3 – BPM and SOA follow what you design is what you execute” (WYDIWYE) model. This model eliminates synchronization problems between design and run time, traditionally when the analyst created his business requirements document and the Developer developed the RICE(Report, Interface, Conversion Extension) Communication/interpretation issues occured. With BPMN Technical and Business Analysts are using the same tools.

Tip 4 - Connect your Business Analyst to BPM to create a realistic road map for process transformation. Anytime I'm in a room filled with enterprise architects and business process professionals, there's often a healthy debate back and forth about who drives transformation across the enterprise. The truth of the matter is that architects are usually the ones tasked with designing and delivering business transformation. And architects are often found in both EA and Business teams.  If your Business Process initiative doesn't have an architect, make it a top priority to bone up on architecture in and look to add architecture skills to your process transformation activities.

Tip 5Here are guidelines for which business problems are best suited for SOA adoption

 

Business Characteristics Unlikely SOA Case Likely SOA Case
Process Rate Change

Low

High

Shared Services

No

Yes

Business Transactional Model

Transactional

Procedural

Organizational Scope

Vertical

Horizontal

Runtime Dynamics

Static

Dynamic

Business Data

Centralized

Distributed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BPM next focus should go towards mobile.
But looking a few years ahead, there is a one technology that I believe will have an impact on the way BPM systems are built: Speech Recognition.

 

The business case is quite simple:
Most of the BPM solutions use forms.
Once forms were filled by pencil and paper, then came the electronic forms, then keyboards to fill in the forms, and now “Mobile” enables you to “tap” information into the forms.

Your thoughts what do you think... 

 

Below are some previous blogs on the topic of SOA and BPM:

Use BPM and SOA to drive out cost

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=170&Itemid=9

Business Process Execution Language

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=9

 

SOA Architecture Strategy

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=118&Itemid=9

 

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

http://appsconsultant.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=53&Itemid=9

   

 

 

 

Business Process Execution Language

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in BPM

Before we jump right into a discussion on Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) we need to set a framework for its use. It is important for managers, developers and DBAs to have an understanding of how BPEL can benefit them. Here are my thoughts on BPEL including an introduction to Oracle's BPEL Process Manager.

Business process management

Business process management (BPM) technology is a framework for applications that can effectively track and orchestrate business processes. BPM solutions will automatically manage processes and process flow, but allow for manual intervention when necessary.

BPM might coordinate the extraction of customer information from a database or manage a new customer information transaction. BPM could generate transactions in multiple related systems or support straight-though processing without human intervention. BPM allows you to automate tasks involving information from multiple systems with rules to define the sequence in which the tasks are performed as well as responsibilities, conditions and other aspects of the process. BPM not only allows a business process to be executed more efficiently, it also provides the tools to allow you to measure performance and identify opportunities for improvement. A benefit of BPM is that changes can be easily made in processes or flow by adding, removing or updating a process.

To truly take advantage of BPM, the software application components of a process should follow a service-oriented architecture (SOA). These components should be published as Web services for reuse and ease of integration.

Service-oriented architecture

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is "a standards-based implementation style whose goal is to achieve secure, reliable and interoperability. An SOA component may be exposed as a Web service. The standard way to describe a Web service is via Web Services Description Language (WSDL). The Web services are a set of endpoints that operate on messages containing either document-oriented or procedure-oriented information. WSDL can be extended to allow description of endpoints and messages regardless of what message formats or network protocols are used. The way a Web service is discovered is via the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) protocol. UDDI is a key part of the interrelated standards that comprise the Web services stack. The UDDI standard describes the method for publishing and discovering the network-based software components of an SOA. UDDI is like a "Yellow Book" for Web services.

There are a few more standards that we need to discuss to insure that these Web services work together, the WS-* standards. There are many, hence the star. Two that come to mind are WS-Coordination and WS-Transaction.

WS-Coordination

WS-Coordination (Web Services Coordination) is a proposed IT industry standard for how individual Web services should interact in order to accomplish an application task. The WS-Coordination interface defines a context within which coordination is to take place and the specific items of data that are to be exchanged in order for transactions to complete successfully as part of an overall business process defined in a Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) program.

WS-Transaction

WS-Transation is a companion specification for what will constitute the completion of a transaction.

The WS-Coordination specification is an activity of the Web Service Interoperability Organization (WS-I Organization), which is an industry-wide effort at standardizing how Web services are requested and delivered. Business Process Execution Language

Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) defines a notation for specifying business process behavior based on Web services. BPEL is used to model the behavior of both executable and abstract processes. (Executable processes model actual behavior in business transactions. Abstract processes interact without revealing their internal behavior.)

The scope of what BPEL includes is:

  • The sequencing of process activities, especially Web service interactions.
  • Correlation of messages and process instances.
  • Recovery behavior in case of failures and exceptional conditions.
  • Bilateral Web service-based relationships between process roles.

BPEL for Web services is an XML-based language (BPEL4WS, usually shortened to BPEL, which rhymes with "people") designed to enable task-sharing for a distributed computing or grid computing environment across multiple organizations using a combination of Web services. BPEL was written by developers from BEA Systems, IBM and Microsoft. BPEL combines and replaces IBM's WebServices Flow Language (WSFL) and Microsoft's XLANG specification. Using BPEL, a programmer formally describes a business process that will take place across the Web in such a way that any cooperating entity can perform one or more steps in the process the same way. In a supply chain process, for example, a BPEL program might describe a business protocol that formalizes what pieces of information a product order consists of, and what exceptions may have to be handled. The BPEL program would not, however, specify how a given Web service should process a given order internally.

{mospagebreak} 

BPEL servers

There are several BPEL servers available. Oracle's BPEL Process Manager is one of the top servers available.

  • ActiveBPEL Engine
  • IBM BPEL4WS Editor and Java Run-Time
  • Oracle BPEL Process Manager
  • Microsoft BizTalk Server 2004
  • Other BPEL Servers

Oracle BPEL Process Manager

Oracle's BPEL Process Manager is a very comprehensive and easy-to-use set of components that can be used for creating, deploying and managing BPEL business processes. Oracle's BPEL Process Manager is a GUI developer tool integrated into JDeveloper.

Oracle BPEL Process Manager architecture

Oracle BPEL Process Manager Architecture contains a designer, process manager and console. The Oracle BPEL Process Designer allows you to model, edit and design processes. The integration services allow you to do transformations. It includes many adapters to various sources. The core BPEL engine supports the BPEL standard and runs on various application servers.

Supported adapters

Oracle BPEL Process Manager allows you to connect to data sources via its adaptors. Here's a list of just a few of those adaptors:

  • File Adapters
  • FTP Adapters
  • Oracle Advanced Queuing
  • Database Adapter
  • JMS Adapter
  • Oracle Applications Adapter

Data transformation services

Oracle BPEL Process Manager has a built-in transformer component. It uses the following standards in its transformations:

  • XSLT Mapper
  • XPath
  • XSD
  • XSL

The transformation service has an integrated test tool which can generate test data to ensure your mappings are correct.

BPEL methodology

When starting a BPEL project I would suggest looking at the following:

  • Review Web services architecture usage scenarios.
  • A couple of scenario types that you might use are:
    • Fire-and-Forget
    • Request/Response (Callback)
  • Code -- First if you have existing applications that you want to expose as Web services.
  • WSDL -- First if you don't have existing code or you want to start by laying out the services that you need.

If you plan on implementing BPEL you will need exposed services. Web services are key components in BPEL. The services need to be exposed by registering them via UDDI and describing them via WSDL. Once the services are exposed you can include them in your business process flow. The Web services can be invoked (a request made to the Web service). The Web service will respond to your request. Most likely you will need to plan for some type of data transformation. You will need to plan on handling exceptions. The process may not be completely automated, so you may need to incorporate some user tasks. To monitor the process you can include sensors. The sensors can send out status messages which can be reported on via a Business Activity Monitor (BAM). Oracle BPEL Process Manager can aid you in all of these steps. The GUI design tool uses simple drag and drop to define the process flow. To summarize the steps you will:

  • Expose the service(s) (by registering)
  • Invoke a process flow
  • Perform data transformation
  • Manage exception processing
  • Include user tasks
  • Place sensors throughout the process flow
  • Monitor the process

Notable quotes

Tom Siebel, chairman and CEO of Siebel Systems Inc.: "The emergence of business-process computing means that the days of closed, monolithic application suites and proprietary integration solutions are over. Business-process computing, based on open standards, will free companies from being locked into one vendor's proprietary architecture. With Web services, application functionality becomes disaggregated, with each function available as a service that can be accessed (or consumed) on demand by any other application or service on the network, anytime, anyplace."

BPEL will become a key part in any IT architecture.

Minto Pyramid Principle

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog, BPM

 

Minto Pyramid Principle is a technique used for making decisions for business; it involves the use of diagrams and works through decision problems.

MPP (Minto Pyramid principle) is being widely used in consulting firms like (McKinsey,Deloitte, Gartner, etc…) and apart from them, I have not seen many clients trying to utilize this BDM (Business Decision Mapping) technique.

As consultants we structure our approach and communication logic around this and we are starting to see clients adopting similar flows and structure.

I still do not understand why companies are not recognizing MPP as a standard, there are many ways you can make logic flow but it is quite well structured within MPP.
There is no widespread knowledge about MPP. I have often used it to help clients in their thinking and critical communications. Most have never heard of it. I usually buy Minto's book for them and we go from there.

Here is a link to some interesting books on MPP

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=barbara+minto

I think most companies can be helped by using MPP for business critical thinking.

The most important value comes from learning how others structure their thinking and it provides a clear workflow to the business issues, risks and decisions that need to be taken.

 

Use BPM and SOA to drive out cost

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in BPM

One of Oracle's strategic acquisitions was BEA, it enabled to strengthen Oracle’s BPM suite of products by integrating BEA's ALBPMS product.

 

Companies to cut costs must look at BPM and SOA. BPM gives companies visibility in the process and SOA helps you de-couple your services.

I expect Oracle Fusion Applications to use integration with Fusion Middleware toolset and technologies; Clients will need to focus on an upgrade path / transition strategy to Oracle Fusion Apps with the use of Fusion Middleware

Since 2009, a movement towards Business Processing Management (BPM) tools to model, simulates, and measure enterprise business processes; Oracle offers Oracle Business Process Analyst (BPA) and Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) which will become key for SOA driven projects

       Exposure of business processes as web services will require increased security capabilities within a Fusion Middleware implementation, using tools such as Web Services Manager and/or Identity Management to manage, authorize, and authenticate users

       Important to leverage Oracle AIA for pre-built Process Integration packs and develop new Process Integrations based on Industry Reference Models; use of Foundation services in AIA will help reduce development effort through Enterprise Business Objects and Business ProcessesOracle plans to enable business analysts to monitor and change process flows in application integration architecture applications via Oracle BPM Suite(This will become an enormous benefit).

Proposed BPM approach Gain internal competency (build skill set), on your first BPM project use a seasoned consultant to guide the team. On a previous project we started up the business process competency center to ensure that the BPM efforts will scale to the rest of the organization

Identify processes where costs may be high and there is not a focus on measurement.Target this type of process for your first BPM project, and demonstrate tangible benefits.

Last point, a market confusion, BPM is not SOA, but that doesn’t mean they oppose one another. They are distinct yet complementary platforms, used properly, can help everyone in the company. They need each other, they are natural allies.

 

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